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Court to Blagojevich: Hand over subpoenas

Friday, Nov 21, 2008

* Yet another big loss for the governor’s legal team…

A state appeals court has ruled that Gov. Rod Blagojevich must provide the Better Government Association with copies of the subpoenas his administration received from federal investigators.

The decision by the Illinois Appellate Court for the Fourth District, handed down in Springfield on Wednesday, affirmed a lower court’s ruling.

That ruling said Blagojevich couldn’t refuse to comply with freedom of information requests from the BGA for the subpoenas.

* More

Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero said the administration has been honoring a request by the office of U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald to not release the subpoenas.

“With this decision, we will consult with the U.S. attorney on what to do next,” Guerrero said.

The governor’s office can appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Fitzgerald’s office will not comment on subpoenas.

Don Craven, the association’s attorney, said he will ask the trial court to allow the subpoenas to be released immediately because the Appellate Court decision left “absolutely no wiggle room for the governor.”

* If you read the decision, you’ll see that the appellate justices don’t believe that the governor has a single legal leg to stand on. Every argument was turned away.

For instance, the governor’s own legal team admitted that private citizens can disclose grand jury subpoenas of themselves. The court writes…

…under federal law, a private citizen has the discretion to reveal the subpoena, and if he chooses to do so, he will not suffer the wrath of the federal court’s contempt powers or be subject to any federal charges.

So, if private citizens can do it, the governor has no excuse. Also, the state’s Freedom of Information Act “eliminates such discretion from the recipient of a federal grand jury subpoena if that recipient is a public official subject to FOIA’s requirements,” the justices wrote.

Oops.

Also…

…Congress has not seen fit to specifically restrict the behavior of the subpoena recipients.

* On and on it goes, whacking the guv at every turn. My favorite passage…

If the United States Attorney really believed that the Governor’s disclosing of the federal grand jury subpoenas would somehow have interfered with the federal grand jury investigation, the United States Attorney could have appeared in this litigation to make known and defend the federal grand jury’s interests just as it did in Brady-Lunny v. Massey

Excellent point. Read the whole thing.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

12 Comments
  1. - Wacker Drive - Friday, Nov 21, 08 @ 7:20 am:

    Wonder if there’s anything in those federal grand jury subpoenas that indicates how Blagojevich steamrolled all those ex-state employees?


  2. - Dan S, a Voter and Cubs Fan - Friday, Nov 21, 08 @ 7:46 am:

    In Blago world the only rules are there are no rules.


  3. - Tollway Dan - Friday, Nov 21, 08 @ 8:00 am:

    There nothing to fear but “TRUTH” as Blagojevich has stated.
    Stop wasting our taxpayer monies. The people of Illinois deserve a Christmas present.


  4. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 21, 08 @ 8:11 am:

    Let the sun shine in.


  5. - Master of the Oblivious - Friday, Nov 21, 08 @ 9:45 am:

    If Blago waits too much longer the information will most likely be detailed in his Federal indictment.


  6. - Little Egypt - Friday, Nov 21, 08 @ 11:01 am:

    Blago isn’t going to release these just yet. He will take his time deciding whether to go to the Illinois Supreme Court and when smacked down there, he will consider going to the U.S. Supreme Court. The only way we will know what is in these subpoenas before then is for him to be indicted, which I’m praying will come before Obama’s January inauguration. Hopefully, either way, we won’t have long to wait now.


  7. - Secret Square - Friday, Nov 21, 08 @ 12:09 pm:

    Another Thursday has come and gone… probably not enough time to get the “turkey” done for Thanksgiving at this point. But, maybe there are still enough shopping days left until Fitzmas to get POA a nice lump of coal and a petrified fruitcake to go with the indictment papers :)


  8. - Anonymous45 - Friday, Nov 21, 08 @ 1:59 pm:

    Yawn…just another “up” day for the Guv…


  9. - Captain America - Friday, Nov 21, 08 @ 2:05 pm:

    Governor Pinocchio will stonewall to the bitter end. Legal technicalites,like not having a leg to stand on, are irrlevant to Public Official A. I expect indictment to precede any involuntary release of USAT subpoenas.

    If Blago did release copies of the subpoenas were issued, my guess is that they woulld be heavily redacted to protect the “privacy” of the guilty guilty


  10. - Secret Square - Friday, Nov 21, 08 @ 3:39 pm:

    In related news… Durbin says he’s going to recommend Fitz’s retention, and there being no concievable reason I can think of why Obama would want to tick off Durbin, I presume Fitz’s job is safe for the time being.


  11. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 21, 08 @ 3:41 pm:

    ===I presume Fitz’s job is safe for the time being.===

    Fitzgerald’s job has been safe for a long time, despite what you may read elsewhere.


  12. - DzNuts - Friday, Nov 21, 08 @ 4:14 pm:

    The Governor is like that one kid in 7th grade who always got picked last for any team in P.E. class, yet thought he was the MVP. Repeated rejection and public humiliation by judges no less, and the guy still wobbles around like nothing happened. He may have earned the new nickname, Governor Weeble Wobble. He is truly amazing to watch.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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